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Motion by Lord North, that the Treaties be referred to the Committee of Supplies


Thursday, February 29, 1776.

Lord North moved, That the copy of the Treaty between his Majesty and the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, signed at Cassel, the 15th of January, 1776, and Translation , be referred to the Committee of the Whole House, to whom it is referred to consider further of the Supply granted to his Majesty.

He urged the necessity of the measure, and the great effects he expected from it. He said, no questions could arise upon it but three, all of which were too plain to require much elucidation. Whether the troops proposed to be hired were wanted? Whether the terms on which they were procured, were advantageous? and, Whether the force was such as might be deemed fully adequate to effect the operations for which it was intended? As to the first point, he said that reducing America to a proper constitutional state of obedience being the great object of Parliament, the best and most speedy means of effecting so desirable a purpose was the motive which induced Administration to adopt the measure, because men could be readier had, and upon much cheaper terms in this way than we could possibly recruit them at home. On the second, he observed, that not only in the view of comparative cheapness with home levies, but as referring to former times, the present troops would cost us less than (taking all the circumstances together) we could have expected. And, lastly, that the force which this measure would enable us to send to America would be such as, in all human probability, must compel that country to agree to terms of submission, perhaps without any further effusion of blood.

Lord John Cavendish reprobated the measure in all its parts. He observed, that the present was the first alarming consequence of the American war. Britain was to be disgraced in the eyes of all Europe; she was to be impoverished; nay, what was, if possible, worse, she was compelled to apply to two petty German States in the most mortifying and humiliating manner, and submit to indignities never before prescribed to a crowned head presiding over a powerful and opulent kingdom. 1˙ The troops were to enter into pay before they began to march — a thing never known before. 2˙ Levy money was to be paid at the rate of near seven pounds ten shillings a man. 3˙ Not satisfied with


this, those petty Princes were to be subsidized. 4˙ They have had the modesty to insist on a double subsidy. 5˙ The subsidy is to be continued for two years in one instance, and one year in the other, after the troops have returned to their respective countries. And, lastly, a body of twelve thousand foreigners are to be introduced into the dominions of the British Crown, under no control of either King or Parliament; for the express words of the treaty are, "that this body of troops [Hessians] shall remain under the command of their General, to whom his Most Serene Highness has intrusted the command."

Mr˙ Cornwall assured the House that he had a better opportunity of knowing the means of treating with German Princes, and of procuring troops, than any man in it. That his situation for many years, as Clerk in the German Pay-Office last war, gave him this opportunity; and that he was astonished to hear any gentleman, conversant with German connections, call the present terms disadvantageous. He contended that the two months previous pay allowed to the Duke of Brunswick, was no more than a douceur; and insisted that they were all had on lower terms than was ever known before, especially if the business should be effected within the year, of which he had no reason to doubt.

Lord Irnham. I am to ask your pardon for appearing so solicitous to give you my sentiments just at this period of time; but it is to answer the honourable gentleman of the Treasury Bench, who is, I know, a perfect master of the German affairs, and to submit to him, in this stage of the business, my doubts as to the competency of the Landgrave of Hesse and the Duke of Brunswick to make such treaties as are now under our consideration. That gentleman knows that before the peace of Westphalia the feudatories of the empire had no confirmed legal right to engage, without leave of the Emperour, in offensive and defensive alliances with foreign Princes, which might require sending troops out of the empire. But the weakness of the House of Austria, and the dread of the Swedish arms, obtained, after a long discussion, that extraordinary privilege, on the pretence of the interest of religion, and the inability of the head of the empire, from being often engaged in war with the Turks, to defend the frontiers, which made such a concession beneficial to the empire; always presuming that the troops of those Princes so contracting should, in case of the empire being attacked, return to its defence, as the allegiance of those Princes to the Emperour and empire of Germany, by the nature of their feudal tenure, especially required. Now, sir, if this is the true state of the privilege those Princes now enjoy, can it be fairly inferred from thence that they can, merely for lucre and pecuniary considerations, transport their vassals to the East or West-Indies, nine parts in ten of whom will hardly ever return? and thus, by depopulating their territories, deprive their Lord paramount of the succour which he has a right to expect from them, and of the advantage which an inhabited and settled territory affords, in comparison of one stripped of all the men able to bear arms; to support a cause in no shape whatever connected with the empire, and which must render it vile and dishonourable in the eyes of all Europe, as a nursery of men reserved for the purposes of supporting arbitrary power, whenever grasped at by those who have more money, though not more justice and virtue, than the others whom they can pay for oppressing. I shall say little to the feelings of those Princes who can sell their subjects for such purposes. We have read of the humourist Sancho' s wish: that, if he were a Prince, all his subjects should be blackamoors, as he could, by the sale of them, easily turn them into ready money; but that wish, however it might appear ridiculous and unbecoming a Sovereign, is much more innocent than a Prince' s availing himself of his vassals for the purpose of sacrificing them in such destructive wars, where he has the additional crime of making them destroy much better and nobler beings than themselves. As to the defensive part of the treaty, which is looked upon as of no consequence, on supposition that we shall never be called upon to fulfil it, — I beg leave to insist on the contrary position; for the Emperour may not only show his resentment of this proceeding of his vassals, by a military execution in their territories, but may thereby give them a right to call upon us for that indemnification in money, which is the only means in our power for making them amends, and to which we are by these treaties bound. Besides, the King of Prussia, who is at their door, will infallibly


seize this opportunity of making us pay the six hundred thousand pounds, which he pretends we wronged him of at the close of the last war. It will, therefore, be very proper for Administration, and much more for the House, to consider that it would be a great addition to the expense, which, from the complexion of the House, I am afraid we are going to incur, by approving of those treaties now under consideration; which treaties I look upon as highly inexpedient and dishonourable to the nation, and to which, therefore, as a member of this House, I shall give every opposition in my power.

Mr˙ Seymour compared the present with the former treaties with German and other Princes, whom we had formerly subsidized, and defied Mr˙ Cornwall to produce a single instance in which the same number of men, within the same time, had cost the nation so much money.

Mr˙ D˙ Hartley. In the course of our debates upon American measures, I frequently hear the terms of Rebellion and Rebels made use of, which I shall never adopt: not only because I would avoid every term of acrimony which might increase the ill-blood between us and our fellow-subjects in America, but likewise, thinking as I do that the Ministry of this country have been, in every stage, the aggressors, I never will, as a Whig of Revolution principles, confound terms so fundamentally the reverse to each other, as defensive resistance in the support of constitutional rights, with unprovoked and active treason. The Colonies have been condemned unheard. If you would have condescended to have heard their petition, you would have found that all they requested has been to be restored to the happy state of harmony, tranquillity, and constitutional dependance, existing in 1763. Those Ministers who have so madly driven them on to unavoidable resistance, must be answerable to their country for all future consequences. I wish to enter my protest, once for all, that I shall always think that our American fellow-subjects have been driven to resistance in their own defence, and in support of those very claims for which we ourselves have successfully taken up arms in former times, to rescue us from the violence and tyrannical pretensions of the House of Stuart. These rights are the giving and granting freely our own property, and the security of charters. Let us do to them as we have done for ourselves, and it is all that they ask, I am convinced that the nation will some day or other see the justice of their cause, when the anger of the present unfortunate disputes is a little abated, and when many misrepresentations, which are studiously circulated by Ministry, are cleared away. Therefore, sir, for the present I will suspend this part of the argument, and confine my objections to this measure of the foreign troops; to the impolicy and impracticability of the measures; being always understood that I have entered my protest against their injustice. Sir, the publick have been artfully and imperceptibly led into these measures. We were told, at first, that the discontents were only adopted by a few factious persons in America, that the body of the people were totally averse to these measures of resistance, and that a very little exertion from this country, and a very inconsiderable expense, would restore the publick tranquillity. Many of us on this side of the House have, from time to time, endeavoured to uncover these fallacies, having too truly foreseen and foretold the endless ill consequences of the Ministerial plans in America. I myself told you, sir, in this very place, not many months ago, from very certain information, that America would not only not recede upon the articles of arbitrary taxation and surrender of charters, but that they would turn out, before last midsummer, a body of fifty thousand men in arms. This prediction was at that time treated by the House with laughter, yet it has proved but too true. What confidence can we then have for the future in Ministers who are so grossly ignorant and deceived, or who conceal the true state of things from this House and the publick, perhaps with no better view than to trepan them insidiously, and by gradual steps, into the support of their own desperate and sanguinary designs? The publick revenue being a subject upon which I have at times bestowed some pains, and upon which I sometimes trouble you, I am sure this House will do me the justice to recollect, that I have incessantly remonstrated against the enormity of the expense which these measures would entail, even to the hazard of publick bankruptcy, if foreign war should overtake us upon the heels of this civil contest. The Ministry, in whom a majority of this House seem to put unbounded


confidence, have, for a time, smothered these mischiefs; they have kept all matters of expense out of sight, and endeavoured to lull the publick to inattention, by conveying to them that very little matters would do. No such words as taxing and funding have even been whispered; but taxing and funding must come, and that soon, too. You cannot do this very year without. I have again and again stated to this House, and to the noble Lord, that the debts and expenses incurred, and such as will be incurred in this very year' s campaign, cannot come to a less sum than ten millions. The army extraordinaries, and the navy debt incurred in the last year, must be enormous. Those which will further be incurred in the present year must be immense. Let the noble Lord deal ingenuously with the publick, and, by the assistance of all his lights, let him inform the House what expenses he is providing for them. Does he intend to lay any new tax this year? Does he pay off any of the navy debt? Does he intend to propose the payment of the civil list, with an augmentation to the establishment of it? What will the noble Lord state as the probable expense of the intended campaign? Let the country gentlemen know what endless expenses they are to encounter. There are some gentlemen who have professed that they enter into this war to obtain a revenue from America, but still not at all price. Gold may be bought too dear: if they are to pay a hundred years purchase for the possibility of a revenue from America, who would give that price even for a certainty? But it is contended that all this armament is only a mode of making peace with dignity; that the Americans will be awed into submission, and that Commissioners are to grant pardons and to make peace. This is the insidious pretext of die present year: for what powers are given to the Commissioners? None, but to grant pardons, if the Americans will lay down their arms, upon unconditional submission. This is an insult both upon them and upon us. Did they take up arms to obtain pardon, or to obtain redress of grievances? You have condemned them unheard, you have subverted all their civil rights, you pensioned their Judges, you garble their Juries, you control the free debates of their Assemblies, you confiscate their Charters, you take their property by violence from them; and when they petition or complain, you tell them that these are pretended grievances: yet these are the grievances which they seek redress of under arms. Give them redress, and they will lay down their arms, and gladly receive pardon and general oblivion. If Parliament had enabled the Commissioners to offer redress of grievances, I should not have called the appointment of them a mere pretext; but you have expressly tied their hands. Neither can the Americans put any trust in any supposed intentions of the Ministry for peace. General Burgoyne says, in his letter to General Lee, that after what has passed, the Americans may rest in full confidence that this country would never think of taxing them again; and, indeed, that inference would seem reasonable, if we did not hear the contrary asserted and supported almost in every day' s debate in this House, and particularly by the noble Lord who has lately been advanced to the head of the American Department.

The noble Lord at the head of the Treasury seldom holds the same language and opinion long together. Sometimes he is ready to dispense with taxation, and wishes to God that all things were restored to the state of 1763. If he has personally any dispositions to moderation and lenient measures more than his colleagues, he is at least overruled. But the noble Lord of the American Department has invariably declared upon principle, that a total and unconditional submission, an entire surrender of their properly and Charters, are, with him, the indispensable preliminaries of any treaty of peace. I have myself troubled the House this very session with some propositions of pacification, offering security to the Colonies upon the articles of taxation and Charters, which have been refused upon principle, expressly argued in the debate on the part of the Ministry, that they would not, in the least degree, recede from their terms of unconditional submission to be enforced by the sword. Then away with these pretexts! It is clear enough that they mean nothing but destruction and bloodshed, and to act over again the mockery of what was last year called the Conciliatory Proposition. You sent orders to dip the sword in American blood before that proposition, insidious as it was, could be offered to any Assembly upon the


continent. This year, again, your pretext is a pretended commission to offer peace, at the same time tying up the hands of the Commissioners from making any offer but of unconditional submission, with an army of foreign mercenaries sent close upon their heels, to lay waste the whole country with fire and sword. Sir, my opposition to this unjust American war is so total and absolute against every part of it, that I hardly know in what terms to express my aversion to any one part more than to every other; yet I think, sir, if there could remain any measure exceeding every preceding one in disgrace and barbarity, it is this of introducing foreign troops. The first shedding of civil blood was wantonly precipitated by Ministerial orders last year, even before the pretended plan of reconciliation could be proposed to any Assembly on the continent; therefore the first blood lies at your door. Notwithstanding this provocation of bloodshed, the Americans tell you in their Declaration, as a proof of the sincerity of their desire for peace, that "they have not called in the rivals of your grandeur," justly claiming the merit of forbearance under such provocation and distress. Mark the reward which we give them for their forbearance: their Petition is rejected unheard, and the Minister tells the Parliament, in the King' s speech, that it is with "satisfaction" that his Majesty has received friendly offers of foreign assistance; to which this House has given for answer, that they would "cheerfully" enable his Majesty to avail himself of the offer. An American Congress have held such a measure in abhorrence; a British Parliament have adopted it with "cheerfulness." You have now set them the example, and perhaps, by the very act, made it unavoidably necessary for them to adopt the same fatal measure in their own defence. I call it a fatal measure; because, when foreign powers are once introduced in this dispute, all possibility of reconciliation and return to our former connection is totally cut off. You have given a justification to the Americans by your example, if they call in the assistance of foreign powers. Let the Minister who has advised this measure to his Majesty consider well of the consequences. His head as well as his hand is answerable for the treaties — I mean not merely from the effect of these foreign troops in the American dispute, but from all other consequences upon the general security of our situation with respect to all foreign powers. We know well with how jealous an eye this country is watched, and more particularly envied on account of the universal and uncontrolled empire of the British flag. One such treaty should not stand alone. If any foreign power should attack us, we shall expect of the Minister who has advised these treaties for foreign forces, to be prepared with such a system of treaties and alliances as shall secure this country from the natural consequences to be expected from such interference of foreigners. When you have set the example, you not only justify America in applying for foreign aid, but every power whatever will think themselves at liberty to take such part as may best suit their own convenience. Upon the whole of this measure, I think it the most disgraceful, the most unjust and unnatural, and big with the most fatal consequences, of any measure that has been, or could possibly be, adopted; therefore I shall give my most hearty negative, to it.

The Hon˙ Frederick Stuart, (third son of the Earl of Bute,) was for sanguinary measures. He rested the strength of the nation chiefly on paper credit, with which he united the navy and commerce. Paper credit, he said, effected wonders; it was not only a substitute for money, but it was better. While our credit remained inviolate, we shall never want either soldiers or sailors. He insisted that America had no prospect of deriving support from any foreign power, because she was not able to pay them; neither France nor Spain would assist them unless well paid. America had nothing but paper money, and that would never pass current; nothing but good sterling money would answer their purpose, and that she would not be able to procure so long as her trade and commerce were prevented or destroyed by our navy.

Captain James Luttrell. I rise because I think that if I am not too young a member to have a sense of humanity, neither can I be deemed too young a member to give my voice as well, as my vote against the oppressive measures of the present Administration. Nor can I be awed by their abilities or experience when the state of affairs prove they have been so misapplied as to lose to the Crown America,


to this country a most valuable part of its commerce, and which are every day exerted in framing such bills as may more justly be called death-warrants to thousands of British subjects than a step towards regaining our lost Colonies, I flatter myself, sir, that what I shall say against this war will not be thought inconsistent with the spirit of an officer; for if Great Britain must bleed for her injustice towards America, I know my duty, and when called upon should not shrink from the summons; but I should hope when I fell that it was to save some better man, who might live to fight in a better cause. However, sir, I cannot reflect so calmly on the destiny and possible fate of those great and distinguished officers who could scarcely be replaced by their equals, much less by their superiors; I therefore feel it an additional reason to blame and lament the rashness of Administration.

I form my judgment, sir, of America, not from being a member of this House, but from having passed many years in that country, where, because I was an Englishman, I met with a friendly reception. They gave me many just causes to respect them, and to wish them well; nay, I thought it consistent with my duty so to do, even though I served in men-of-war. For I could not at that time foresee we were sent to protect America from foreign powers, only that we might become the spoilers of it ourselves. I rather looked upon us as guardians to their trade, in which both countries had a fair and a mutual advantage. The Americans have never sought nor desired to be independent of England. They thought Ministry misinformed, therefore they requested to be heard; and however artfully they may have been deprived of that privilege before this House, I do respect it as the grand judicial inquest of the nation, which must be too high and too equitable to condemn an individual without a hearing, much less three millions of subjects. Yet it is said that Parliament declared this war against America: let who will have done it, I have seen enough of that country to think it my duty to endeavour to express how much I am averse to so iniquitous, so impolitick a persecution. I have heard, sir, that it is necessary to destroy America in order to obtain an honourable peace to this commercial country. If such great objects may be compared to small ones, I think it would have been as sound policy to send to Liverpool, at the time of the riot, to burn the town and destroy all the merchant ships, because a part of their crew had proved disobedient to the laws. But who says the Americans will not submit to be governed by just laws? They only say so who first broke through them, and have ever since been adding insult to injury. The Minister well knew he had offended all America; and what man is so unlikely to put an end to the dispute as he who insists upon being judge in his own cause? This I do say for the Americans, because I do believe it, that had their real motives been fairly and impartially laid before this House, and the Parliament of Great Britain been called in as the mediators, not the persecutors of the people, all would have ended well; that good faith which had been wantonly violated towards the Colonies would have been restored upon a more solid and lasting foundation, and men' s lives and properties been safe at this very hour. Some say, Who now are the Americans we can treat with? Is it every individual settler of that country? Surely it would be an endless work. Who, then, so proper as those in whom they place implicit faith and confidence, and whose decisions they will abide by? Such are the Congress; nor can I think the Minister wishes to pay the paltry compliment of a preference to the Provincial Councils and Assemblies, unless he can forget, how long they were treated with the most shameful contempt and disgrace, and that he drew this fatal sword to prove they did not represent America. But, sir, I beg pardon for deviating so far from the business of the day as to talk of reconciliation, peace, and commerce; for I understand the noble Lord does still persist he can, by force of arms, recover the trade and amity of the Colonies. I think they will continue to show us that by such methods it is impracticable to attain those ends; but even were it possible he should succeed, permit me to say, (if, as a seaman, I may be indulged in a professional comparison,) I could never approve of that pilot who, when he might have steered the vessel through a safe and pleasant channel, directs her course amongst rocks and quicksands, telling me, for my best hope, that he has ingenuity enough to extricate her at last.


Sir, I comprehend that Ministry now apply to Parliament for seventeen thousand Germans to send to America. Good God, for what end? To enslave one hundred and fifty thousand of their own countrymen, many of whom fled from tyrants to seek our protection. And, sir, I speak in moderation; for, passing over Georgia and West-Florida, where they have some considerable settlements, there is Pennsylvania, one of the largest and most flourishing of the Colonies, situated in the finest climate; it is above one-half peopled by Germans, they speak that language and scarcely any English. The German Flats, on the Mohawk River, which extend at the back of New-York and the Jerseys, are very highly cultivated, and esteemed the best lands of any of those Provinces. Some thousands of Germans are the settlers and improvers of that country, and these I have mentioned are the nearest inhabitants to the Five Nations of Indians. They trade with them, speak their language, and it is most natural to suppose they will easily persuade them to take up the hatchet against the King' s forces. The Germans have some considerable settlements on the Connecticut River, but it is true the fewest Germans are in New-England and the Northern Provinces. I do presume, sir, that is the reason why the Congress have not hitherto thought it necessary to pall more of them to the Provincial army. I shall only add to this account of the Germans, that the encouragement for them to quit their own country and become settlers in America was so very great that the German Princes found it absolutely necessary to make it death by their laws to carry any more of them out, and the Palatine ships, that used so frequently to convey them, have of late years ceased to arrive at the ports of our Colonies. To conquer and to govern, by military force, these settlers and all the inhabitants of that vast continent, with such a handful of German and British forces, I do, indeed, sir, held to be impracticable; but I think if an excellent opportunity for our hired troops to desert, because they will most likely be offered lands and protection. These warlike transports we are to fit out may, then, be considered as good as the Palatine ships for peopling America with Germans.

I do presume, sir, it is not good policy to hire these foreign troops; first, because they will provoke five times the number of their own countrymen in America, and a great many Indians, to join the Provincial army; secondly, because they will desert and accept of lands, which, when they have done, we have hired troops to fight against ourselves; for surely, when, like those who became settlers before them, they see an uncultivated wild grow fruitful and beautiful under their hands, they will readily join in protecting that property and the just rights of America against the oppressive impositions of an enterprising Ministry. Sir, foreseeing these probable events, having passed some winters and summers in America, and part of that time under hospitable roofs, I think it would be wrong in me to give a silent vote upon the present occasion. But I do not mean to intrude any longer, because there are many able and distinguished men I shall have much more pleasure and satisfaction in listening to than in making any attempt to draw their attention towards me. I shall, therefore, only beg leave to add one more reason why I think it right to give my voice and vote against these measures and against the noble Lord' s motion; which reason is, that I want faith to believe the compliments of foreign Ministers are as good a security for the safeguard of Great Britain, or of Hanover, as the German and British forces that are shamefully to be sent to massacre his Majesty' s injured subjects in America, whilst we are left defenceless both by sea and land.

Mr˙ Jolliffe said, that as matters now stood, it was impossible to retreat, consequently troops must be had in order to carry the proposed measures into execution. This could not be effected without a sufficient force, and the present being the most feasible means of procuring that force, he could not perceive how it was possible for any person who approved of one, to consistently object to the other.

Mr˙ George Grenville observed that he had scarcely been long enough in publick life to fix before now his sentiments relating to America. He had, however, no doubt of the right of Parliament to tax America, and, consequently, must concur in the coercive measures. He was far from approving all the steps Administration had taken, but at present the


main point rested on this alternative: Shall we abandon America, or shall we recover our sovereignty over that country? The expense was, to be sure, heavy, and the terms now before us hard; but if we did not consent to relinquish all our pretensions at once, we had better make one effort more; and if we miscarried, we should, in that event, be little worse than if we henceforth desisted from all further pretensions.

Governour Johnstone insisted that the measure of hiring foreigners to butcher fellow-subjects was equally impolitick and cruel; that it would answer no end but that of increasing the burdens of the people, already too heavy for the nation to bear. He contended that the paper credit of America was full as good as ours, and would answer every effectual purpose that the paper credit of Great Britain possibly could. He was surprised to hear an honourable member describe paper credit as one of the great pillars of this nation; he contended that a love of liberty was sufficient to surmount all difficulties, and instanced the case of the Dutch in the resistance they made to the oppression and tyranny of the Spaniards, who, on their recognition as a free State by their cruel taskmasters, were indebted in no less a sum than ninety millions sterling.

Lord North expressed his surprise at hearing so much stress laid on the impropriety of carrying on a war against our fellow-subjects. For his part, he always imagined that a civil war called most urgently for speedy and effectual suppression. Such wars were no novelties in this country. Were not the Irish our fellow-subjects in 1690? Were not the Scotch so in 1715 and 1745? And did any person ever assign it as a reason that those rebellions should not be crushed, because the Rebels were our fellow-subjects? He insisted that the cases of America and the United Provinces were extremely different; that the latter was privately abetted, and publickly supported; and yet, if her commerce had been cut off, notwithstanding all the aid she derived from her powerful friends, (as that of America shortly would be,) she must have been obliged to submit.

Mr˙ Fox observed that the noble Lord was never twice in the same temper, nor of the same opinion. A few nights ago his Lordship confessed he could not promise but that some foreign power might interfere; and now he reasoned as if he was certain that America would be cut off from all publick or private support of foreign powers. He wished his Lordship would take one side or other of the argument, and adhere to it; for if he granted the possibility of such an interference, then his whole argument amounted to just nothing. If, on the other hand, he was certain of a strict neutrality on the part of France and Spain, he begged never again to hear a syllable of a possibility of their interfering in the present disputes.

Lord George Germaine defended the measure, on the ground of necessity. He quoted a number of precedents, to show that in every war or rebellion we had recourse to foreigners to fight our battles and to support our Government. His Lordship adverted particularly to the several treaties, the number of troops employed, and the terms on which they were hired, and the services in which they were employed.

Lord Barrington supported the motion, because he owned that recruits could not be procured on any terms. The bargain was not so advantageous as he could have wished; but it was the best that could be made. They had prescribed the terms, and we were compelled by necessity to accept of them.

Colonel Barré reminded the noble Lord of the assurance he gave on a former occasion, that no foreign troops were meant to be employed. He hoped he would not resort to his old apology, that he was not of the Cabinet; or, if he should, that he would never more pass his own speculations on the House as originating from those, in the Cabinet who were supposed to authorize him to give those assurances. He turned, then, to the Minister, and was severe on him and his colleagues, telling them plainly that they were not fit to conduct the affairs of a great nation, either in peace or war. He attacked the treaties, and those who advised them, and pointed out the great danger of introducing such a number of foreigners into the kingdom, alluding to the case of Francis I, of France, among many others, who experienced the inconveniences of so hazardous an experiment.

Lord Barrington denied his giving any such assurances to the House as stated by the honourable gentleman who


spoke last; acknowledged his not being deep in the secrets of the Cabinet; and that what he said in the House was the result only of his own private judgment, grounded on the best information he could collect, and desired he might be considered in no other light.

Colonel Barré, to explain, said he was in the judgment of the House, if the noble Lord at the head of the War Department did not state twenty-five thousand men as the whole of the force intended for America, for the service of the year 1776, on the day he presented the military estimates, adding, at the same time, that not a single foreigner was to be taken into British pay.

Lord North answered several objections made to the treaties, as well as others relative to the state of our navy at home. He said that this country would not be in danger when the armament destined for America had sailed, for we should still have the usual number of guard-ships; and it was not intended to send one line-of-battle ship to that part of the world.

General Conway insisted that Administration had most shamefully, if not basely, broken their word with America, respecting the Circular Letter written by Lord Hillsborough to the several Provincial Assemblies, while Secretary of State for that country. He observed that Administration one day profess to relinquish all idea of a revenue; the next day they insist on taxation; a third, they solely contend for supremacy and commercial control; and again, we will not tax, but we will have a certain specifick sum of money. He appealed to the candour and good sense of those who heard him, if it were possible for America to know what to do, or what she could depend on; for, supposing she were willing to consent to any one, or all of those schemes, what certainty would she have in such unsteadiness of counsels, but that the very next day the whole system may be abandoned, and some new claim made upon them, perhaps the fruitful parent of a hundred more, What was the conciliatory proposition of last year, taking it in the most favourable interpretation, but the old claim of taxing, dressed in another garb? In short, he could see nothing but naked destruction present itself on every side; for let America consent, or let her resist, he was perfectly satisfied that the ruin of this empire was inevitable. He treated the idea of reducing America as impracticable and absurd; and if it were not, he pronounced it at once cruel, oppressive, impolitick, ruinous, and unjust.

Lord Mulgrave said, he had ever approved of Mr˙ Grenville' s system of Colony Government; that his prophecy was now literally fulfilled; for, he said, if the Stamp Act should be repealed, it would produce all the consequences that have since happened. That the repealing that act was the cause of all our present disputes; and that whatever was thrown out respecting his conduct, was equally untrue and ill-founded; for, as he was always against the repeal, so he was now in favour of coercive measures, never considering on which side Administration voted.

Lord North, in reply to General Conway, said he was not responsible for what Lord Hillsborough, or any other member of Administration, might have promised before he came into office; yet, if he had been one of the advisers of that measure, he thought he could fully justify himself on the conciliatory proposition which he had the honour to submit to the House last year, for that went beyond anything contained in the Circular Letter said to be written by the noble Lord. The proposition secured the application of the port duties to the services of the Colony where such duties should happen to arise, which plainly removed the only objection that had been previously made to them, that of drawing the produce of such duties into the British Exchequer. His Lordship was then extremely jocular on some of the arguments made use of by Governour Johnstone, General Conway, and Colonel Barré, relative to the native strength of America, and the personal prowess of its inhabitants, on the dangers of a foreign invasion, and on the probable consequences of introducing a body of foreigners into our dominions in America, and the miraculous effects of American paper credit.

Mr˙ Burke complimented the noble Lord on his talents for ridicule, his political witicisms, and his ironical strictures. He observed that his Lordship one day came down to the House with a very grave, serious, argumentative air, and told the country gentlemen that they should have a revenue,


for it was the very point in issue. The next he changed his tone, and as gravely affirmed, that nothing was farther from his intentions, for it was the supreme legislative power of Parliament that employed all his sleeping and waking thoughts — a paltry trifling revenue was beneath the dignity and wise consideration of a British Parliament. Again, the dispute only related to the destruction of the tea at Boston; neither the revenue nor supremacy made any part of the controversy. At the beginning of the session not a single foreigner was intended to be employed; now, nothing was to be effected without the aid of foreign mercenaries; but if necessity should compel us to employ foreigners, it was only because they could be procured upon cheaper terms. The necessity is arrived; but the pretence of cheapness is at once abandoned; for it turns out, that for every one thousand foreigners we have taken into our service, we shall pay as much as for fifteen hundred natives. If his Lordship was charged with being the promoter of those measures, the fact was denied — he only co-operated with the rest of the King' s servants; if they were attributed to any other set of men, he instantly put in his claim to the whole merit. If he was reproached with versatility of sentiment, or contrariety of opinion, he laughed at his opponents, and turned the whole into a mere matter of ridicule. So that, on the whole, supremacy or no supremacy, revenue or no revenue, foreigners or natives, cheapness or dearness, responsibility or no responsibility, his Lordship seemed to regard very little; the whole was made to end in a joke; promises, reasons, and arguments, were made to yield to Ministerial pleasantry and good humour; the House was made merry, a laugh was created, and the mere grumblers were, as they deserved, turned into ridicule and contempt.

Mr˙ Stanhope condemned the measures pursued by Administration, as leading to consequences of a most serious and alarming nature. The means proposed to carry them into execution were not less exceptionable than the policy which gave birth to them; and if persisted in, must not only cause the entire loss of America, but subject us to additional burdens we should never be able to bear.

Sir George Savile entered into several comparative computations relative to the terms of the present treaties; and showed that it was never known since the present custom of hiring mercenary troops prevailed, that so disgraceful or dear a bargain had been made, even when the total dissolution of the established form of Government had been threatened, and rebellions had existed in the very bowels of the kingdom.

Mr˙ Rigby observed, that in the beginning of the session Opposition objected that the military estimates were too low, and not adequate to the purposes of absolute coercion; yet now that defect was attempted to be remedied, they were ready to oppose the increased expense, and seemed resolved to find fault in either event. He said he should not be surprised to hear them find fault with the war itself; but he confessed he was astonished to hear them condemn the most effectual mode of obtaining the objects for which only it was set on foot — that of compelling America to return to a state of obedience. They might, indeed, controvert the justice of the war; but he could not possibly conceive how they could oppose those who were already convinced of its justice, contrary to their own express sentiments, declared in Parliament. Among the rest, he expressed his astonishment at what had fallen from Colonel Barré, who had condemned the war as impolitick, ruinous, and unjust, when he recollected that that very gentleman had both spoken and voted for the Boston Port Bill, which was the great leading and fundamental basis of the present civil war.

Colonel Barré owned the charge; but he contended it proceeded from misinformation; for the Minister had given the most explicit assurances that the Merchants of Boston had desired such a bill; and that the people of the Massachusetts-Bay would, as soon as it was passed, immediately return to their duty. Experience, however, had taught him what degree of credit any official or Ministerial information deserved.

Mr˙ Alderman Bull. I cannot, sir, forbear to express my astonishment and concern that, early in the present session, so many gentlemen should have been prevailed upon, by any considerations, to stand forth in the most serious and solemn manner, to approve and sanctify those arbitrary measures which were recommended and have been fatally carried into execution by an unfeeling and unrelenting


administration, who have dared to abuse the Throne by their wicked and sanguinary councils, and whose whole conduct has proved them destitute of every principle of justice, humanity and the religion of their country. Their insatiable thirst for Protestant blood has been long evident; and it cries aloud to Heaven for vengeance, as well as for the just indignation of a long-abused, insulted, oppressed people. To exult in the destruction of our most valuable commercial friends and Protestant fellow-subjects; to pray that the same horrid scenes may be repeated; that war, desolation, and bloodshed may pervade the whole continent of America, unless it shall bow its devoted head to Popery, to poverty, to the most abject and ignominious slavery, were not the fact on record, would be thought incredible. That record, sir, to a nation professing a regard to liberty and the rights of humanity, will remain an eternal monument of reproach. Sir, is it probable that the exertions of Ministerial tyranny and revenge will be much longer permitted? that there will be no appeal to stop the further effusion of Protestant blood? Or can it be expected that the people of this country, reducing by thousands to beggary and want, will remain idle spectators till the sword is at their breasts, or dragoons at their doors? God forbid! I am not insensible how much professions of patriotism are become a subject of ridicule. To the astonishment of the world, the love of our country has been ridiculed within these walls. And yet, sir, this shall not restrain me. While I will uniformly withhold the offer of my life and fortune in support of Ministerial despotism, I wish it to be understood, that whenever an occasion may call for it, I will cheerfully sacrifice both in defence of the liberties of the people. The war that you are now waging is an unjust one; it is founded in oppression, and its end will be distress and disgrace. Let not the historian be obliged to say that the Russian and the German slave was hired to subdue the sons of Englishmen and of freedom; and that, in the reign of a Prince of the House of Brunswick, every infamous attempt was made to extinguish that spirit which brought his ancestors to the throne, and, in spite of treachery and rebellion, seated them firmly upon it. I shall not now trouble the House any further than to declare my abhorrence of all the measures which have been adopted against America, measures equally inimical to the principles of commerce, to the spirit of the Constitution, and to the honour, faith, and true dignity of the British nation.

At two o' clock, the question being put, the House divided.

Tellers for the yeas,
Sir Grey Cooper,
Mr˙ Lyttelton,

Tellers for the noes,
Mr˙ Byng,
Mr˙ Seymour,

So it was resolved in the affirmative.

Ordered, That the copy of a Treaty between his Majesty and the reigning Duke of Brunswick, signed at Brunswick, the 9th of January, 1776, and Translation, together with a Paper intituled "Note concerning the Levy Money," and Translation, be referred to the said Committee.

Ordered, That the copy of a Treaty between his Majesty and the Hereditary Prince of Hesse Cassel, signed at Hanau, the 5th of February, 1776, and Translation, be referred to the said Committee.

Ordered, That the Estimate of the charge of twelve thousand three hundred and ninety-four men, the Troops of the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, in the pay of Great Britain, for the year 1776, pursuant to Treaty, be referred to the said Committee.

Ordered, That the Estimate of the charge of four thousand three hundred men, the Troops of the Reigning Duke of Brunswick, in the pay of Great Britain, for the year 1776, pursuant to Treaty, be referred to the said Committee.

Ordered, That the Estimate of the charge of a Regiment of Foot of Hanau, in the pay of Great Britain, pursuant to Treaty with the Hereditary Prince of Hesse Cassel, from 6th March, 1776, to 24th December following, both inclusive, being two hundred and ninety-four days, be referred to the said Committee.

Ordered, That the Estimate of the charge of six Regiments of Foot from Ireland, and of several augmentations to his Majesty' s Forces, from the respective times within mentioned, to the 24th December, 1776, inclusive, be referred to the said Committee.



* Afterwards Earl Temple, and in 1784 created Marquis of Buckingham.